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September 22, 2019, 08:59:04 AM

Author Topic: Sweet Whispers  (Read 439 times)

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Offline mojo

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Sweet Whispers
« on: March 28, 2019, 02:25:25 PM »
Hello,

My Foreplay volume controls have developed static when turning them up or down. There is no noise when I set the volume and leave it. I did not build it...John Tucker built it back in 2002 along with my Parabees. I took the Foreplay to a trusted tube stereo repair guy in town and he cleaned the controls. It made no noise for a couple of weeks, and now the static is back.
I've done some reading on the forum, seems my options are to have him take the attenuators apart, clean them better and try to improve the contacts, or buy new controls such as Alps or Goldpoints.
My questions are:
1. Is it worth taking them apart and trying to make them work better?
2. Can I have him build new attenuators exactly like the Sweet Whispers with new parts? Opinions on which resistors and switches would be appreciated.
3. Is it easier/cheaper to buy new ones such as Alps or Goldpoints?

I LOVE the way my system sounds...so whatever I do, I want it to be as good or better than it is now.
Btw...the original TJ 300b tubes still worked after 16 years...they were just really weak, so I bought new tubes (Gold Lions) and it livened things up a bit. Listening to music is an amazing experience again. I love my Bottlehead gear!

Any advice is appreciated.
Sean


Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 04:10:58 PM »
Just replacing them with new level controls will be far easier and should be less expensive.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline mojo

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2019, 04:21:53 PM »
Hey Paul,
thanks for the quick reply. Any recommendation for easy replacements that won't be a drop in sound quality? Any specific values I should be looking for? Regarding my original post, I'm not just looking for the cheapest solution, I don't mind paying for quality parts.
Thanks again,
Sean

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2019, 04:35:44 PM »
Do you have a Foreplay I/II or Foreplay III?
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline mojo

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2019, 04:42:55 PM »
It's a I, bought in 2002.

Offline mojo

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2019, 04:46:11 PM »
actually, the manual I have says Foreplay, then under it says Rev 2.0

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2019, 04:52:19 PM »
They are 15K units, but 10K mono attenuators are going to work just fine.  In the stock configuration, just the ground and input holes would be use on aftermarket attenuators. 
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline mojo

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2019, 04:55:05 PM »
Thanks Paul! I appreciate your time and info. Time for some research...

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2019, 04:59:55 PM »
You'll need a small flat file to make some notches in the top panel, but this is still easier than pulling apart the old switches.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline mojo

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2019, 05:08:56 PM »
ok...thanks for the heads up!
Sean

Offline Natural Sound

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2019, 04:22:09 PM »
Mojo, if you want to stick with the stock switch I'm told that that this is an exact replacement.
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/c-k-components/A11203RNZQ/CKN10201-ND/2043157
I would source new resistors rather than try to de-solder and re-use the old ones. You could upgrade to KOA Speer, Vishay/Dale RN55 or RN60 (which are my favorites) among others.

PS: I'm not trying to talk you into anything. I'm just offering you another option.

.

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2019, 05:59:48 PM »
Mojo, if you want to stick with the stock switch I'm told that that this is an exact replacement.
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/c-k-components/A11203RNZQ/CKN10201-ND/2043157
I would source new resistors rather than try to de-solder and re-use the old ones. You could upgrade to KOA Speer, Vishay/Dale RN55 or RN60 (which are my favorites) among others.

PS: I'm not trying to talk you into anything. I'm just offering you another option.

.
That is NOT a suitable switch. That one is "non-shorting," meaning that the wiper loses contact with one position before connecting to the next position. This causes clicks and pops with every movement. You need a "shorting" switch.

From the data sheet, that would be model A11203RSZQ. It is NOT available on the DigiKey site.

Switches are getting harder to find, distributors are carrying fewer items, and what there is is costing more. And it often seems to be of lower quality. I suppose there is less demand. I looked around when this thread first appeared, and found only one available-from-stock switch in a couple hours of searching - and they were $180 each, not the $3.95 we paid for the stock switch 20 years ago. It's very frustrating.

I agree with PB's suggestion, to go back to a potentiometer. PEC makes good carbon pots (you want audio taper, also called log taper). They have a carbon puck instead of the usual metal wiper, so operation is smoother, quieter, and probably more long-lasting. There are other quality pots around that cost more and may or may not sound better to you.

The other alternative is to find some ready-made switched attenuators - not cheap. Discrete resistors - I agree that the Vishay/Dale RN series are excellent - are preferred.
Paul Joppa

Offline Natural Sound

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2019, 09:34:35 AM »
Thanks for the update PJ. I did find this post from PB that somewhat contradicts what you said so I'm a little confused now.
https://bottlehead.com/smf/index.php?topic=8718.msg84675#msg84675

I wouldn't have even brought this up its just that the whispers sound so darn good. I still use a pair in one of my FPIII's.

I suppose the best bet is to go with the PEC pot as suggested. I assume you are referring to a two deck "stereo" version?




Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2019, 11:32:04 AM »
That post from PB refers to Sweetest Whispers, the revised circuit used in Foreplay III. Sweet Whispers is the old control used in previous versions, which is (I think) what you have.

I was thinking mono pots, assuming you are using one control per channel now and want to keep that.

One of the most common problems with stereo level controls is that they don't track well at low volume settings. That's why Foreplay started out using two mono controls.

I have tried to avoid getting into all the possible different circuits and controls you might use - that would call for a book, not a forum post!
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 11:39:09 AM by Paul Joppa »
Paul Joppa

Offline Natural Sound

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Re: Sweet Whispers
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2019, 05:18:42 PM »
That post from PB refers to Sweetest Whispers, the revised circuit used in Foreplay III. Sweet Whispers is the old control used in previous versions, which is (I think) what you have.

I was thinking mono pots, assuming you are using one control per channel now and want to keep that.

One of the most common problems with stereo level controls is that they don't track well at low volume settings. That's why Foreplay started out using two mono controls.

I have tried to avoid getting into all the possible different circuits and controls you might use - that would call for a book, not a forum post!

Got it. My experience has only been with the FPIII circuit. I was unaware of the Sweet/Sweetest differentiation. Is the main difference in the FPIII version that the signal AND ground is switched? Or is there something else going on?